Alex Brown: Hugo 2022 Fanwriter Finalist

Name: Alex Brown

Pronouns: They/them

Alex Brown is an award-winning SF&F critic (2020 Ignyte Best Critic Award), librarian and fan writer who has written for Locus,, NPR and Buzzfeed. They’ve also written two non-fiction books about the Napa Valley. On their blog they describe their writing and themselves:

“Much of their writing covers Black history, librarianship, YA, and speculative fiction. Alex is ace/aro, genderqueer, and biracial Black.”

Brown is a prolific reviewer who produces regular round-ups of new releases as well as reviews of SF&F and YA books.

What’s in the packet

Brown has several PDFs of their work from their blog, Locus and, as well as a compendium PDF that puts them all together in a single document. They include reviews of:

  • A Chorus Rises by Bethany C. Morrow
  • The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig
  • Folklorn by Angela Mi Young Hur
  • Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
  • Soulstar by C. L. Polk
  • The Heartbreak Bakery by A.R. Capetta
  • The Witch King by H.E. Edgmon
  • Amazon Prime miniseries, Underground Railroad
  • The Mirror Season by Anna-Marie McLemore

In particular, I enjoyed reading their review of Piranesi — a book that really benefits from multiple perspectives:

“The longer he says in the House, the more Matthew Rose Sorensen’s very identity and sense of self are stripped away. He finds a form of control in his uncontrollable world by tracking the tides and searching for meaning in the movements of the birds and the expressions of the statues, but it’s false. He is subject to the environment and the whims of a capricious white man just as enslaved Africans were a century and a half before. The trauma is more than the act of being imprisoned, it’s the overarching history of slavery. Matthew/Piranesi is not like Ketterley’s slave; he is his slave.”

The packet provides a short survey of a much larger body of work that encompasses Brown’s extensive writing on books.

Why you should vote for Alex Brown

Reviews and criticism enrich our experience of reading but it is the fostering of dialogue about stories, a rich, ongoing community discussion and debate about books that make reviews and criticism a key element of fandom.

Brown brings their own perspective to their reading and their capacity to tease out of books the depth and richness of the stories is notable.

Also, they like Caramel Hob Nobs (see ) — I didn’t even know British biscuit technology had reached such dizzying heights in my absence!

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